Ford fights back against ruling striking down council-cutting plan — NewsAlert

Council Chambers at city hall in Toronto Ont. on Monday

"There are other ways at other times that the government of Ontario could, for right or for wrong, address this matter", he said.

This is a breaking news update. The mayor also said city staff will advise councillors at a special meeting on Thursday how the municipality can proceed with the upcoming October 22 election. But in considering voters' rights, he concluded the 25-ward model could not provide "meaningful and effective representation" at the municipal level, despite the proposed wards being identical to provincial and federal ridings.

In a scathing decision, Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba said Ford and his Progressive Conservatives interfered with the right to freedom of expression for both candidates and voters when the province enacted the Better Local Government Act last month.

But Belobaba found Bill 5 violates Section 2 (b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of expression - a "crucial aspect of the democratic commitment", the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. v. Keegstra, "not merely because it permits the best policies to be chosen from among a wide array of proffered options, but additionally because it helps to ensure that participation in the political process is open to all persons".

That's the lay of the land after an unprecedented day that saw a Superior Court judge strike down the province's Bill 5 as unconstitutional, and Ford vowing to use a rarely-invoked "notwithstanding" clause to override the ruling and reinstate the council cut.

Today's ruling, which can be appealed by the province, means that the upcoming municipal election in the city will proceed with a 47-ward system. "That is disturbing to the public that elected democratically elected governments", Ford said.

The decision has no effect on Bill 5's cancelling of regional chair elections in other municipalities.

"I was elected", he said firmly, "the judge was appointed".

Belobaba ordered an election resume with 47 wards, returning the campaign to a state before the Tories passed Bill 5 at Queen's Park.

"People often make the mistake of calling judicial decisions they disagree with activist".

"It breached the municipal voter's right to cast a ballot in effective representation", said Belobaba.

"While the timing of the bill was not ideal. this bill was introduced almost three months before the election date, which is still longer than federal and provincial writ periods", CTF's federal director Aaron Wudrick said in a statement.

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Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, was rushed through the Ontario Legislature and passed August 14, even though campaigning for Toronto's municipal election began May 1.

Belobaba then said his job was not to determine whether the legislation was fair, but whether it was constitutional.

Speaking to CP24 at city hall, Coun.

"This is simply an unfortunate byproduct from a province that makes up policy on the fly, but, in Toronto, cooler heads prevail".

"Ms. Keesmaat had an opportunity to join with the mayor, to put partisan politics aside and stand up with him for the people of Toronto. He can't invoke the notwithstanding clause over an election, 25 seats or 47 seats".

Tory spoke to reporters Monday morning, saying he was happy with the judge's decision.

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said the premier's move appeared motivated by an "apparent personal vendetta" against Toronto city council.

"Democracy does not belong to a few of us, it belongs to all of us", he said. "And we won", he tweeted. "For not only councillors, but frankly residents of our city to understand what the new rules are, what the new timelines are, what the new wards are".

"The result is unacceptable to the people of Ontario". In the 25-ward council, the boundaries extend into new neighbourhoods where she and her team are now deploying resources.

"We're waiting to hear", Perks told the Star on Tuesday.

"The issue here is whether he was really drawing in elements from another Charter right, which is the Section 3 right to vote", she wrote.

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